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We've Never Had it so Good
FRANCES WEAVER

Many older people assume that someone in my position - a 22-year-old girl who graduated from university last June - would be getting quite a shock as I enter the job market. And yes, the "real world" is certainly grimmer than I'd anticipated at university (and even there, during the "Age of Abundance", I'd slightly dreaded the prospect of trying to get a job).

Friends who had secured jobs with banks in their last year of university have been told to go away and come back in a couple of years when conditions have improved. Others are living on expenses as they move from internship to internship, hoping that a permanent position will open up somewhere. So much for the idea that life would be pretty cushy as long as you got a decent degree - after all, if things didn't work out, then you could always sell out to the City.

But for those of us lucky ones who have somehow managed to snatch at a job and hang on to it, the Age of Austerity has an almost carefree atmosphere. In fact, things are pretty great, if you know how to manipulate the situation. Most restaurant chains are advertising two-for-one meal deals and so you can't dine out without spending half the money that you used to. Consequently, instead of keeping the money that I've saved for a time when I might need it, I'm dining out twice as much - it's the credit crunch, you've got to have some fun to take your mind off the doom and gloom.

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